Since writing his first song at the age of 14, Sir Paul has dreamed and dared to be different. In the sixties, as the writer and co-author of their greatest songs, he changed the world of music with The Beatles. Legendary albums include: Please Please Me, Revolver, Help!, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White Album. Through the following four decades, first with Wings and then as a solo artist, he has continued to break boundaries and to influence the sound of music around the globe.
In 1990 he was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society to write The Liverpool Oratorio, his first major orchestral work. It has been performed more than 100 times in 20 countries since its premiere in 1991. The double-CD album topped the charts in both the UK and the USA. The Liverpool Oratorio was re-released in November 2004 on DVD, featuring 5.1 surround sound, which included a bonus performance of the track In Liverpool, a song which had never previously been released. In 1995 (the 30th anniversary of McCartney’s song Yesterday) his second classical work, A Leaf – for solo piano, was premiered at St James’ Palace in the presence of the Prince Of Wales.
McCartney continued to evolve in the classical form and 1996 saw a major challenge for him. EMI Records commissioned him to compose a major orchestral work to mark EMI’s 100th anniversary in 1997. The symphonic poem Standing Stone was recorded in the legendary Abbey Road studios, conducted by Lawrence Foster and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The world premiere was held at the Royal Albert Hall in October 1997, with a 10-minute standing ovation given to its composer by the capacity audience. Standing Stone then proceeded to go to No.1 in both classical charts in the UK and USA and McCartney later won the USA’s National Public Radio New Horizon Award, in recognition of his work broadening the appeal of classical music.
In 1999 he created his third album on EMI Classics: Working Classical. Working Classical is a collection of orchestral and chamber music. It featured three new short classical works: A Leaf, Spiral and Tuesday. The album was launched with a complete live performance of Working Classical in Liverpool, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrea Quinn and the Loma Mar String Quintet. A year later Paul contributed Nova to A Garland For Linda, a collaboration of choral music with John Tavener, Judith Bingham, John Rutter and other classical composers in commemoration of the life of Paul’s wife Linda McCartney.
September 2006 saw the long awaited release of McCartney’s fourth classical album Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart), an Oratorio in four movements. Ecce Cor Meum has been more than eight years in the making after Anthony Smith (President of Magdalen College Oxford 1998–2005) invited Paul to compose something to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the foundation of the college. In November 2001, performed by Magdalen College Choir and conducted by Bill Ives, Ecce Cor Meum was given its first public airing at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. The work was recorded at Abbey Road Studios between 13-17 March of 2006 performed by Kate Royal (soprano), The Boys of King’s College Choir, Cambridge,The Boys of Magdalen College Choir, Oxford and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields conducted by Gavin Greenway. It was produced by John Fraser.
A freeman of The City Of Liverpool and Lead Patron of The Liverpool Institute Of Performing Arts, Paul McCartney was appointed Fellow of The Royal College of Music in 1995 by The Prince Of Wales. In 1996 Paul McCartney was knighted by H.M. The Queen for his services to music.